Snow stings when you hit it at high speeds, and the bright sun reflecting off the ice can strain your vision. You need some sort of protection, but which is best? Should you wear sunglasses or goggles when you go skiing or snowboarding? In general, goggles are the best choice for snowsports; read on to learn more.
Generally speaking, goggles are the smarter choice as compared with sunglasses because they offer:
There are two main variables to consider before you buy a new pair of skiing or snowboarding goggles.
1. Lens Color. You've probably seen goggles that come in a variety of lens colors, but the color is about more than coordinating the perfect ski outfit. Darker lenses or mirrored lenses, like some of the lens styles in our Oakley Goggles collection, block lots of light, making them ideal for bright, sunny days. Alternatively, if you're carving up the slopes on a cloudy or foggy day, yellow, green, or pink lenses will work better because they let in more light.
For night owls hitting the slopes after dark, or in extremely snowy conditions, go with clear lenses.
2. Lens Type. There are two main options: cylindrical and spherical.
Cylindrical lenses are more common. They curve around your head horizontally, and they're flat vertically.
Spherical lenses are curved both vertically and horizontally, giving you a wider field of view and less distortion compared to cylindrical lenses. But spherical lenses typically cost more than cylindrical lenses.
Fancy Extras: To reduce fog, choose goggles with an anti-fog treatment and double-layer lenses. Or look for a style that comes with a tiny fan to make the fog dissipate as it builds up.
Make sure your goggles offer UV protection. Lenses and coatings that help reflect UV rays away from the eyes will help prevent eye strain and keep your eyes healthy.
An anti-scratch coating is also a worthy investment. If you spend time in the backcountry or on wooded trails, branches can do some serious damage to your lenses. Even taking your goggles on and off your face can potentially scratch your lenses. And all those tiny scratches accumulated over time can make a big impact on your vision.
Some makers offer prescription goggle inserts you can swap out for the lens that comes with your frames.
To make sure your goggles fit comfortably, try them on with your helmet, and with anything else you might wear outside. If you typically wear a hat or head scarf when you ski or snowboard, wear it underneath your helmet when you try on your goggles to achieve the truest fit.
Once you’re wearing your goggles, the face foam should feel snug, without any uncomfortable pressure points. You shouldn’t feel any air flow through the sides, as this can cause the goggles to fog up and dry out your eyes. Look for frames with foam-covered holes that allow air to flow through properly, without causing them to fog up.
Loosen up the strap if your goggles leave an obvious indentation on your face after wearing them. But be sure they still fit snug enough not to allow air to flow inside the lenses.
Polarized lenses might seem like a great idea at first. After all, they reduce the bright glare from the sun bouncing off an extra shiny slick of ice.
Unfortunately, this could create a safety hazard. Since polarized lenses make it harder to see those icy patches, wearing them could lead to an accident or injury.
And if you wear polarized lenses on darker days, they will further darken your vision and make it harder to see the slope.
Polarized sunglasses for snowboarding may be a good idea on an extra bright day… just keep in mind they may hide potential dangers from you.
Consider goggles that offer interchangeable lenses, so that as light and weather conditions change, you can swap lenses to suit your needs.
Or opt for a reflective mirror coating on your lenses, which will help reduce glare but will still offer the contrast that allows you to see ice and other changes in the terrain.
While goggles are generally a better, safer choice for skiing and snowboarding, sunglasses are probably fine on warmer, clearer days, or if you have other activities in mind after hitting the slopes. Sunglasses are also lighter weight and less bulky than goggles, and they can be fitted with your prescription.
You can always enjoy the best of both worlds with over-the-glasses goggles, or OTG goggles. These models allow you to wear your prescription glasses underneath skiing goggles, so you can see every breathtaking detail of the mountain while protecting your eyes.
And for those après ski events when you’re looking for more style than sun protection, choose designer sunglasses in a classic silhouette with on-trend details. Find stylish frames that fit under OTG ski goggles, or that wear well on their own after a long day on the mountain.
If you decide you want to wear sunglasses when skiing or riding, wraparound styles provide the most coveragefrom wind, debris, and the sun. Styles with flexible, grippy temple arms will stay in place, and they’re still comfortable inside your helmet.
Photochromic sunglasseswith lenses that darken when exposed to direct sunlightare ideal for skiing since they automatically adjust to varying light conditions.
Choose prescription sunglasses like the Oakley M2 XL for skiing, so you can enjoy optical clarity and sun protection. These Oakley skiing sunglasses are prescription-ready in lightweight O-Matter frames that come in a variety of lens options and colors. You can even choose clear lenses so your Oakleys offer the protection you need in prescription glassesperfect for skiing at night or on cloudy days.
Yes. Oakley is a leading provider of sporty eyewear, and manufacturer of some of the best skiing and snowboarding goggles on the market.
These goggles are strong, sturdy, and thoughtfully engineered to allow the proper amount of airflow while you’re flying down the mountain. Oakley is known for making skiing and snowboarding goggles that offer an ideal balance of comfort and quality, keeping your eyes protected from wind, snow, and ice and shielding you from harsh sunlight and glare. And they simply look great.